32 research outputs found

    South African Agricultural Research and Development: A Century of Change

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    The 20th Century saw substantive shifts in the structure of agriculture and agricultural production in South Africa. Farm size grew, farm numbers eventually declined, and production increasingly emphasized higher-valued commodities, notably a range of horticultural crops. The real gross value of agricultural output grew steadily (by 3.32 percent per year) from 1910-1981, but declined thereafter (by 0.21 percent per year from 1982-2008). These long-run sectoral changes provide a context to present and assess an entirely new data series on public agricultural R&D (and related regulatory and extension) spending and associated scientist trends. South African agricultural R&D has been affected by a series of major policy changes. These are also documented and discussed here, along with the associated institutional changes regarding the conduct and funding of public agricultural R&D in South Africa. We reveal a number of disturbing trends, including an effective flat lining of the long-run growth in total agricultural R&D spending that took hold in the 1970s, an erratic path of funding per scientist, and a loss of scientific personnel in recent decades. Moreover, South Africa has lost ground relative to its competitors in international commodity markets such as the United States and Australia in terms of the intensity of investment in agricultural R&D. These developments are likely to have long-term, and detrimental, consequences for the productivity performance and competiveness of South African agriculture. They deserve serious policy attention as the 21st Century unfolds, with a firm eye to the long-run given the long lags (often many decades) that typify the relationship between agricultural R&D spending and productivity growth.Research and Development/Tech Change/Emerging Technologies,

    A long-run view of South African agricultural production and productivity

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    Production and productivity developments in South Africa have regional consequences: South Africa’s agricultural economy accounted for 43.1% of the agricultural GDP of southern Africa in 2009. Here we present and discuss newly constructed long-run data on agricultural input and output aggregates for South Africa spanning most of the 20th century. Updated multi-factor productivity (MFP) measures for South Africa for the last half of the 20th century are also presented. For the period after 1961, land and labor productivity trends for South Africa are compared with partial productivity developments in the rest of Africa. The general tendency has been for labor productivity to grow at slower rates throughout sub- Saharan Africa than in South Africa (and Nigeria). We also detect a fairly widespread slowdown in the growth of both these partial productivity measures in more recent years. MFP growth for South Africa has also slowed, as has aggregate agricultural output growth, which has now slipped well below the country’s corresponding rate of population growth. A failure to revitalize the rate of productivity growth and sustain that rate over the long run will have far-reaching economic development consequences for South Africa and the continent generally.Les développements en matière de production et de productivité en Afrique du Sud ont des conséquences régionales : en 2009, l’économie agricole de l’Afrique du Sud a représenté 43.1 pour cent du PIB agricole de l’Afrique australe. Nous présentons et discutons ici de données sur le long terme, nouvellement construites, concernant les agrégats entrées et sorties agricoles de l’Afrique du Sud sur la quasi-totalité du 20ème siècle. Des mesures mises à jour en matière de productivité multifactorielle (PMF) pour l’Afrique du Sud, et recouvrant la deuxième moitié du 20ème siècle, sont également présentées. En Afrique du Sud, pour la période postérieure à 1961, les tendances en matière de travail et de productivité sont comparées aux développements de la productivité partielle dans le reste de l’Afrique. La tendance générale a agi de telle sorte que la productivité du travail s’est accrue plus lentement en Afrique subsaharienne qu’en Afrique du Sud (et au Nigéria). Nous remarquons également un ralentissement passablement généralisé de la croissance de ces deux mesures en matière de productivité partielle au cours des dernières années. La croissance PMF de l’Afrique du Sud a également connu un ralentissement, il en va de même pour la croissance de la production agricole globale qui est aujourd’hui bien en dessous du taux relatif à la croissance démographique du pays. Une incapacité à revitaliser le taux de la croissance de la productivité et à soutenir ce taux sur le long terme entrainera de graves conséquences en matière de développement économique en Afrique du Sud et sur l’ensemble du continent.The research supporting this paper was funded principally by the South African Agricultural Research Council, with additional support from the International Food Policy Research Institute, InSTePP, the University of Pretoria, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation by way of the HarvestChoice project and the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The authors thank Colin Thirtle and Dirk Blignaut for their assistance in the analysis leading to this paper.http://www.aaae-africa.org/afjare/am201

    South African agricultural R&D investments : sources, structure, and trends, 1910-2007

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    The twentieth century saw substantive shifts in the structure, funding and conduct of public agricultural research and development (R&D) and related regulatory and extension activities in South Africa. Following a long period of steady (and at times quite rapid) growth beginning in the early twentieth century, real spending on public agricultural R&D has essentially flat lined since the 1970s. There has also been an erratic pattern of funding per scientist and a loss of scientific personnel in recent decades. Notably, South Africa has lost ground relative to its competitors in international commodity markets, such as the United States (US) and Australia in terms of the intensity of investment in agricultural R&D. In the absence of changes to these trends, these developments may well have enduring, and detrimental, consequences for the productivity performance and competitiveness of South African agriculture. They deserve serious policy attention as the twenty-first century unfolds, with a firm eye to the long-run given the lengthy lags (often many decades) that typify the relationship between public agricultural R&D spending and productivity growth.The research supporting this paper was funded principally by the South African DoA and ARC, with additional support from the International Food Policy Research Institute, InSTePP, the University of Pretoria, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/ragr2

    Estimating and attributing benefits from wheat varietal innovations in South African agriculture

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    It is well accepted that biological innovations, particularly varietal improvements, have greatly contributed to agricultural yield and output growth in the past. At the same time, public funding for breeding programmes such as at the Agricultural Research Council in South Africa has dwindled. In an effort to confirm the importance of continued funding of varietal improvement programmes, this paper estimates the benefits from wheat varietal innovations and attributes them to the different institutional sources (public, private and others) that have contributed to varietal changes in South Africa. The empirical analyses used data on market shares of wheat varieties planted by farmers and annual quantities of wheat produced across different wheat-production areas in South Africa (summer dryland, dryland winter, and irrigation). A vintage regression model was estimated to calculate the proportional yield gain from wheat varietal improvements. The results indicated that the rate of gain in yield as a result of releases of new wheat varieties (variety research) was 0.8 per cent per year (equivalent to 19.84 kg/ha/year) for dryland summer varieties, and 0.5 per cent for both irrigation (equivalent to 32.20 kg/ha/year) and dryland winter varieties (equivalent to 16.65 kg/ha/year). The attribution of benefits among different institutional sources confirms that not accounting for attribution of benefits by source and time period results is overestimation of benefits to any specific research programme. Attribution of benefits by institutional source showed that Sensako dominated, while the share of the ARC-SGI substantially declined, after deregulation of the wheat sub-sector. The results highlight the impact of the decline in public funding for wheat variety improvement research after deregulation and provide a strong argument for continued public funding for variety improvement in South Africa.http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/ragr202020-04-04hj2019Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Developmen

    Does research and development (R&D) investment lead to economic growth? Evidence from the South African peach and nectarine industry

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    Agricultural research programmes in Africa have experienced waning state financial allocations. Efforts to change these funding trends have been fettered by the limited evidence of research investment benefits and the long lags associated with these returns. In a bid to provide such information, this article seeks to calculate the benefits of investments in the Agricultural Research Council’s peach and nectarine research programme – one of Africa’s successful and oldest research programmes. It uses the supply response function to model South Africa’s peach and nectarine industry and estimates the effect of deciduous fruit prices, production costs, research investment and weather on production. A lag distribution of research and development (R&D) investment is estimated using the polynomial distribution function and the derived elasticities are used to calculate the marginal internal rate of return. The study’s results reveal that investment in the peach and nectarine programme is associated with a marginal internal rate of return of 55.9%. This means that every R100 invested yields a R55.9 increase in value in the peach and nectarine industry. In light of these findings, it is concluded that R&D investment is worthwhile and recommends that the funding allocated to this programme be increased.The Agricultural Research Councilhttp://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rajs202019-12-06hj2018Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Developmen

    The evolving landscape of plant breeders’ rights : regarding wheat varieties in South Africa

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    Addressing the multiple challenges facing global agriculture requires integrated innovation in areas such as seeds, biotechnology, crop protection, grain storage and transport. Innovations related to plant improvement and the development of new or improved plant varieties will only happen at an optimal level if plant breeders’ rights (PBR) are properly protected. The objective was to analyse the evolving landscape of wheat plant breeders’ rights to address the dearth of empirical evidence of the patterns and trends of wheat varietal improvements in South Africa. We compiled a detailed and novel count and attribute database of wheat varietal innovations in South Africa from 1979 to 2013 using various sources. This data set was then analysed to ascertain the main trends in, and ownership of PBRs for wheat varietal improvements in South Africa over this period. A total of 134 PBR wheat varietal innovations were lodged from 1979 to 2013, an average of 6 applications per year. The administrative delays in granting PBR applications were substantially reduced by 77 days during the post-deregulation period (after 1996), indicating increased efficiency. The main PBR applicants were Sensako (39%), the Agricultural Research Council Small Grains Institute (ARC-SGI) (25%) and Pannar (15%). The ARC-SGI contributed to some of the PBRs owned by private companies through shared genetic resources before Plant Variety Protection (PVP) was implemented. Future innovations and dissemination of wheat innovations can be stimulated by plant variety protection, together with broader variety sector legislation that encourages both public and private sector investment.The paper is part of the PhD research by Charity R. Nhemachena on: ‘Biological innovations in South African agriculture: A study of wheat varietal change, 1950–2013’.The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant to the University of Pretoria’s Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development.http://www.sajs.co.zaam2016Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Developmen

    Returns to food and agricultural R&D investments in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1975-2014

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    Research-enabled growth in agricultural productivity is pivotal to sub-Saharan Africa’s overall economic growth prospects. Yet, investments in research and development (R&D) targeted to many national food and agricultural economies throughout Africa are fragile and faltering. To gain insight into what could be driving this trend, this article updates, summarizes and reassesses the published evidence on the returns to African agricultural R&D. Based on a compilation of 113 studies published between 1975 and 2014 spanning 25 countries, the reported internal rates of return (IRRs) to food and agricultural research conducted in or of direct consequence for sub-Saharan Africa averaged 42.3%py. In addition to the 376 IRR estimates, the corresponding 129 benefit-cost ratios (BCRs) averaged 30.1. Most (96.5%) of the returns-to-research evaluations are of publicly performed R&D, and the majority (87.6%) of the studies were published in the period 1990–2009. The large dispersion in the reported IRRs and BCRs makes it difficult to discern meaningful patterns in the evidence. Moreover, the distribution of IRRs is heavily (positively) skewed, such that the median value (35.0%py) is well below the mean, like it is for research done elsewhere in the world (mean 62.4%py; median 38.0%py). Around 78.5% of the evaluations relate to the commodity-specific consequences of agricultural research, while 5.5% report on the returns to an ‘‘all agriculture” aggregate. The weight of commodity-specific evaluation evidence is not especially congruent with the composition of agricultural production throughout Africa, nor, to the best that can be determined, the commodity orientation of public African agricultural R&D.The CGIAR’s Standing Panel on Impact Assessment, with additional support from the University of Minnesota’s Agricultural Experiment Station (Project Nos. MIN-14-061 and MIN-14-034), the Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT), and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation by way of the HarvestChoice project.http://www.elsevier.com/locate/foodpolhb2017Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Developmen

    Staff aging and turnover in african agricultural research: a case study on the agricultural research council and faculties of natural and agricultural sciences and veterinary sciences of the University of Pretoria

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    As part of a series of case studies (including Burkina Faso, Kenya, Senegal, South Africa, and Zambia) that assessed the status of and trends in human resource capacity, this study focused on staffing at the South African Agricultural Research Council (ARC) and the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences (FNAS&FVS) and Faculty of Veterinary Sciences (FVS) of the University of Pretoria (UP) during 2001–10. The specific characteristics studies were (1) the capacity of both research and support staff by gender, qualification level, and discipline; (2) the age profile of scientists; and (3) trends in staff recruitment and staff turnover. The results show that both the ARC and FNAS&FVS&FVS experienced an increase in the age of staff, although much more so at ARC than at FNAS&FVS. Unlike ARC, where research staff numbers have declined significantly over the past decade, FNAS&FVS recorded growth in researcher/lecturer capacity, although there has been a growing reliance on part-time appointments. Female participation in research has grown significantly at both the ARC and FNAS&FVS, albeit it in the junior (BSc-qualified) staff category at FNAS&FVS. In both cases it appears that the ability to compete with the private sector—and even the public sector in terms remuneration levels and the ability to attract and retain young researchers—is thus a constraint. Given the greater flexibility at universities in allowing staff to augment their income through consultancies, universities seems to be gaining ground over ARC, but this may not be sustainable in the long run.Non-PRIFPRI2; ASTIEPT

    South African agricultural production, productivity and research performance in the 20th century

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    The objective of this study was to provide a more complete understanding of the changing pace and nature of production and productivity growth in South African agriculture during the 20th century and the associated changes in research and development (R&D) investments and institutions that affect agricultural input, output and productivity performance. A completely new panel of data was constructed to track investments in agricultural R&D and scientific capacity that took account of the numerous structural and organizational changes that shaped public R&D since 1910. The national agricultural production accounts were also revised to address the legacy of South Africa's history of racial segregation and a multitude of problems that arose in the official time series data due to changes in the underlying statistical methods and procedures. With these new output and input data in hand the evolution of production agriculture over the past century was quantified and described. The modern indexing methodologies deployed in this study, in conjunction with new primary price and quantity data yielded new insights into the economic evolution of South African agriculture over the past century. This study analyses the changing historic patterns of public sector investment in the agricultural sector and identifies the phases in policy evolution against the trends in aggregate spending on agriculture, farmer support and R&D. Following an initial phase of scientific capacity building, the R&D system developed a measure of synergy in its activities as evident in the spending patterns of the national and regional institutes from 1926 to 1971. The concordance of policy and institutional changes with R&D investment, output and productivity trends in the funding of the various research entities came to an end in 1980, and overall public investment in agricultural R&D has stalled since 1978. Growth patterns in multi-factor productivity estimated in this study substantially differ from earlier studies, especially in terms of magnitude, and present different results on the estimates of the growth in agricultural output that is attributable to productivity growth. It was found that not only did the earlier methods yield indexes that overstate growth patterns — thus suffering from aggregation bias in their index numbers — but trended more erratically and in poor concordance to the timing of policy changes.Thesis (PhD)--University of Pretoria, 2013.Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural DevelopmentPhDUnrestricte
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